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Jindal aids state recovery; will Landrieu help him?

Looks like Louisiana (and other affected states) has gotten its wish with agreement on more aid, which now is scheduled to be reprogrammed from assistance to take care of coping with the immediate impacts of the recent hurricane disasters, to longer-term, infrastructural needs. This is in addition to tax relief which passed Friday unanimously in the Senate after almost near-unanimous passage in the House.

Around these parts, two people who will try to take credit for this are Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Sen. Mary Landrieu. Blanco will argue her testimony in front of a Congressional committee last Wednesday helped turn the tide, while Landrieu will suggest it was her threat to use Senate rules to keep the Senate in session that did it.

In reality, it was an effort by Congressional Republicans from Louisiana and Mississippi which carried the day. Blanco’s combative, even misleading, testimony only alienated those in Washington who matter. Landrieu’s threats were entirely empty. It was Rep. Jim McCrery who sponsored H.R. 4440, the tax relief bill. Republican senators from the affected area did most of the of the work on the other, although Rep. Bobby Jindal provided a key component by his insistence that study money for the state to strengthen levees be provided only by the state’s acceptance of a unified governance structure for the levees.

Jindal’s move further makes Blanco appear trivial because of her slowness to embrace meaningful reform in this area (as well as her lack of credibility given she did nothing with her appointment power to rid the many separate boards of inefficiency and cronyism). But Landrieu has a chance to recover some relevance in Washington because, on the aid reprogramming, it appears attached to that measure will be an amendment to open up the Arctic Wildlife National Reserve to drilling.

It’s a sound measure that represents no threat to the environment that will be a part of the puzzle to greater U.S. energy independence and to lower gasoline costs. But Democrats have made opposition to the issue a litmus test to appease the hard left environmentalist wacko/anti-free enterprise fringe of their party.

Landrieu bucked that trend in a vote earlier this year. She needs to step up again and do the same to make a substantive contribution to national relief for the state – something Blanco only can dream of doing, especially when Jindal, a potential future gubernatorial opponent of hers, has in reality.

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